20 year old basic home cinema system -v- modern sound bar....

Lurking Lawyer

Distinguished Member
Not entirely sure whether this is the right forum to ask - so, mods, please feel free to move if you think it more properly belongs somewhere else :)

I'm on the verge of upgrading a 10 year old LCD TV to a bigger OLED, and it occurs to me that now might be a good to also reconsider the audio side of things.

I'm not at all conversant with home cinema systems, and I've made do for knocking on for 20 years with a venerable old Yamaha VS-10 home cinema kit. Nothing fancy - a fairly simple, but decent, 5.1 DD/DTS system which has served me well.

She Who Must Be Obeyed has always disliked the fact that it has a separate processing/control unit, which she regards as "clutter", as well as the three front speakers. I suspect she would much rather we swapped it for a cleaner and tidier sound bar.

What I have no real idea about is whether a decent sound bar is going to give as decent audio as what I'm used to. I appreciate it's not going to be proper 5.1 without separate rear speakers (but I still haven't got around to re-mounting the VS-10s rears after moving years ago, so that tells you it's not a major priority.....!) but has audio tech moved on such that I'd be better replacing the old kit with a sound bar?

As you will probably have gathered, I'm not a hardcore A/V enthusiast or cinephile - we haven't even embraced 4K yet, let alone a decent audio set up! Audio quality expectations are therefore modest!

Thanks!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A good soundbar will still fall quite far below what is achievable with even a modest 5.1 speaker based system. All the new AV amps will also have the superior HD audio formats of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. There are good options for on wall speakers such as the KEF T Series so speakers don't have to be particularly big to sticking out into the room.

A soundbar is, perhaps more wife friendly and even a modest one will give an upgrade on speaker performance of the majority of current TVs. You can get ones that will support the HD audio formats available on disc but if all you do is stream or use TV then the audio will be limited to lossy SD Dolby Digital.
 

Lurking Lawyer

Distinguished Member
....but if all you do is stream or use TV then the audio will be limited to lossy SD Dolby Digital.

Thanks @gibbsy

Yes, I should have said - most viewing is via an old 2Tb Sky+ box (so not even Sky Q) and streaming from a Firestick. Occasionally films from disc, but not often.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Not entirely sure whether this is the right forum to ask - so, mods, please feel free to move if you think it more properly belongs somewhere else :)

I'm on the verge of upgrading a 10 year old LCD TV to a bigger OLED, and it occurs to me that now might be a good to also reconsider the audio side of things.

I'm not at all conversant with home cinema systems, and I've made do for knocking on for 20 years with a venerable old Yamaha VS-10 home cinema kit. Nothing fancy - a fairly simple, but decent, 5.1 DD/DTS system which has served me well.

She Who Must Be Obeyed has always disliked the fact that it has a separate processing/control unit, which she regards as "clutter", as well as the three front speakers. I suspect she would much rather we swapped it for a cleaner and tidier sound bar.

What I have no real idea about is whether a decent sound bar is going to give as decent audio as what I'm used to. I appreciate it's not going to be proper 5.1 without separate rear speakers (but I still haven't got around to re-mounting the VS-10s rears after moving years ago, so that tells you it's not a major priority.....!) but has audio tech moved on such that I'd be better replacing the old kit with a sound bar?

As you will probably have gathered, I'm not a hardcore A/V enthusiast or cinephile - we haven't even embraced 4K yet, let alone a decent audio set up! Audio quality expectations are therefore modest!

Thanks!

Best to visit local Richer Sounds as they have large availability of different soundbars. Perhaps they will give you demo so you know what you will be getting. Naturally you need one with subwoofer.

AVForums soundbar reviews: Soundbar Reviews

Soundbar section: Soundbars, Soundplates & Soundbases
 

Hoku

Active Member
Might a compromise be possible?

Just two speakers would give you a half decent performance, albeit without rear effects and would still significantly reduce the clutter.

Either active or powered speakers like these…

Ruark MR1 speakers

Q Acoustics M20 speakers

Ellison Prestige powered speakers

All these options would need to use the optical output from your TV, so in practice they may need to use their remote controls to change the TV volume, which may not be particularly wife-friendly.

So another option that is still more discreet than what you have now, but should still give a half decent performance is…

NAD D3045 stereo amp with HDMI

Just add your own passive speakers depending on your budget and the size of speakers you want. You could add fairly small discreet L&R speakers and perhaps a small subwoofer tucked away. If this was of interest, let us know your budget and we could mention some appropriate options.

You can add a subwoofer to all the above options, to help with the low end.

None of the above suggestions will give you the surround steering effects you have been used to, although soundbars (unless they have rear speakers, which seems to not be what you want) will only provide ‘pseudo’ surround anyway, which may or not be that successful depending especially on your room’s acoustics.

However what the above stereo options could do for you is provide a genuinely satisfying audio experience, perhaps in a way that could still bring a smile to your face and would likely outperform the set up you already have in certain ways.

If you were looking at a subwoofer to integrate with the options listed above, I’d look at something like this…

REL T Zero

Or this…

BK Electronics Gemini subwoofer
 

Hoku

Active Member
PS, should have mentioned that as the NAD D3045 has HDMI Arc, you will be able to use your TV’s own remote to control the volume.
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you are looking at switching to a soundbar solution, then I would make sure you look at one which gives you the option of adding rear speakers and a woofer thus being able to pull back some of the lost information is you become disappointed with sound coming from a narrow central area of the room

If you run down a 2.1 speaker system, then this is a great compromise. Just be sure to ensure both the Sky box and TV output PCM Stereo as many hifi stereo solutions will not work this way. You can also use the optical output if the prices of Marantz' NR1200 (which has HDMI inputs) is a little high as you could use a Marantz PM6007 with optical cables (it has two optical inputs) perfect for both the TV and Sky Box

Speaker wise, depending upon what you already own, you could repurpose these until you get a chance to hear/audition newer ones sometime in the future
 

Lurking Lawyer

Distinguished Member
Thanks all, and in particular @Hoku

Plenty of food for thought. Sounds like I'd probably be better sticking with even the basic 5.1 system that I've got than going the sound bar route (at least unless other bits were to be added).

SWMBO would probably moan more at separate remotes than having the current "clutter" of the amp next to the cabinet. We use a Harmony remote at the minute so reverting to multiple remotes might be problematic :eek:

Thanks for the pointers to an AV n00b :thumbsup:
 

Captain Ron

Distinguished Member
Ask you SWMBO if she would be happier with your soundsystem and TV moved into a spare room and then a new TV and soundbar for the living room. If she says that's a great idea then part company as she already wants you to go spend more time in another room and you don't need that sort of relationship.
 

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